By Prabhat Kishore
“Udant Martand” was the first Hindi newspaper. The journey of Hindi newspaper era in India begins with this weekly published from Kolkata on May 30, 1826. Published under the editorship of Shri Yugal Kishore Shukla, “Udant Martand” was the luminary in the form of news, which illuminated and guided the way of hindi journalism. The notable verse printed on this paper was:-
Dinkar Kar Pragatat Dinhin Yah Prakash Ath Yam
Aiso Ravi Aab Ugaun Mahi, Jehi Sukh Ko Dham.
Aant Kamalani Vigsit Karat Badhat Chav Chit Vaam
Leave Nam Ya Patra Ko Hot Harsh Aru Kam.
The weekly “Bangdoot” came out of Kolkata itself on May 10, 1829. Published in collaboration with Raja Ram Mohan Roy and edited by Nilratna Haldhar, this newspaper was originally in Bengali, which was also printed in Hindi according to needs. The verses quoted above the Hindi part of ‘Bangdoot’ were –
Bhutal Ki Yah Rit Bahut Thode Mein Bhakhe
Logani Le Bahu Lag Hoye Yahi Te Lakhe
Bangala Ki Doot-Poot Yahi Vayu Ko Jano
Hoye Vidit Sab Desh Klesh Ko Lesh Na Mano.
The life journey of “Bangdoot” ended on July 30, 1829, after only twelve issues were released. The weekly “Banaras Akhbar” is the first newspaper out of the Hindi region. In 1845, the journal came out of Kashi under the editorship of Shri Govind Raghunath Tathate. In 1846 “Indian Sun” was published from Kolkata in five languages as “Bengal Herald” and “Bangdoot”. It had ten pages and each page had five columns. His Hindi version name was “Martand”.
“Sudhavarshan” was the first Hindi daily, which came out in 1854 from Bada Bazar in Kolkata. Originally it was a bilingual newspaper, with the first two pages in Hindi and the remaining two pages in Bengali. Its editor was Shyam Sundar Sen. The “Pyame Azadi” was brought out of Delhi in 1857 by Shri Ajimullah Khan, the leader of the freedom movement. Previously it was released in Urdu but soon it started to release in Hindi as well. The idea was to also release his version of Jhansi. The first famous Indian national anthem of 1857 was published in this article, the first lines of which were-
Ham Hain Esake Malik Hindustan Hamara
Baat Vatan Hai Kaum Ka Jannat Se Bhi Pyara.
Mirza Bedar Bakht, the editor of “Pyame Azadi”, was hanged by British leaders. Simultaneously, an injunction was issued by Mr. Henry Cotton that anyone finding the copies of “Pyame Azadi” would be subject to the death penalty. This is probably the first incident in the history of newspapers where the whole family of a newspaper’s readers is condemned.
In 1859 “Dharmaprakash” by Ahmedabad and in 1863 “Mrit Lokhit” by Ara by missionaries were published. Publication of “Marwad Gazette” started in 1866. In 1867, a bilingual newspaper “Vidya Vilas” in Hindi and Urdu came out of Jammu and Kashmir. The period of 1826-1867 is the period of emergence and development of Hindi journalism in India. Newspapers and magazines that come out during this period work to make room for Indian journalism. Later, with the debut of Bharatendu Harishchandra in the world of journalism, journalism took on a new dimension, a new form and a new direction and in the truest sense, the foundations of a new era were laid.
The development journey of the Hindi journalism era had started with “Udant Martand”, which continued through daily, weekly and monthly media till the Bharatendu era. The Bhartendu era (1867-1885) is considered as the second era in the history of Hindi journalism, starting from the year 1867. In the same year, Bharatendu Harishchandra started publication of a monthly magazine named “Kavi Vachan Sudha”. This magazine was considered by the French writer Tasi as a “distinguished newspaper”. The Bharatend era was all about poetry and the value of “Kavi Vachan Sudha” etc. was also printed in verse.
Sat Mudra Pahale Diye Vaarsh Bitaye Saat
Sath Chandrika Ke Liye, Dasaven Dou Mil Jaat.
Bharatendu Harishchandra, the pioneer of Hindi journalism, was born on the 9e September 1850 and ascended to heaven on January 6, 1885 at the age of 35. He embarked on creative writing as a mission and started Kashi’s monthly “Kavi Vachan Sudha” in 1867. After publishing a few issues, it was done fortnightly. In 1873 itself, Bharatenduji started publishing the monthly magazine “Harishchandra Magazine” and worked to popularize modern Hindi. Vyasji considered him an immortal gift of Hindi journalism. In 1874 this magazine became “Harishchandra Chandrika” and was published for eight years. It was the third magazine to come out of Kashi. In 1884 he started the publication of his new “Harishchandra Chandrika” and continued it until the last moment of his life. He also published a Vaishnavism-focused magazine called “Bhagvat Toshini”, which ran for a year.
Another example of the Bharatendu era being poetic is the ‘Brahmin’ paper. Its editor Pratap Narayan Mishra, tired of asking for the donation of the paper, sometimes had to plead through the verse – Aath Maas Bite Jajman. Aab to Karo Dakshina Daan.
The motto of “Kavi Vachan Sudha” was- Nitya-Nitya Nav Yah, Kavi Vachan Sudha Sakal Ras Khani. Piahun Rasik Aanand Bhari, Param Raag Jiya Jaani. Sudha Sada Surpur Basay Se Nay Tumhare Jog. Taso Aadar Dehu Aaru Piahun Yahi Budh Log.
When “Kavi Vachan Sudha” was a monthly newspaper, the works of ancient poets edited by Bharatendu ji were published there. When it became a fortnightly, political and social essays began to appear. According to the Uttar Pradesh Gazette, a total of 250 copies were printed, of which 100 copies were taken by the British government and 150 copies were consumed by the public. It was the time when only two or four copies of certain newspapers could reach the public.
The area of ”Harishchandra Chandrika” was very large. Literature, science, religious articles, archaeology, book reviews, drama, novels, history, poetry, gossip, humor and satire were published in the journal. So many subjects could not have been conceived then. Bharatendu ji believed that for the progress of the country, not only the native, but also one’s own language is essential. He hated the teaching of slavery. His motto was – Nij Bhasha Unnati Yahe Sab Unnati Ki Mool. Bin Nij Bhasha Gyan Ke Mitay Nahiy Ko Sool.
Every writer or poet in the Bharatendu era was the editor of a newspaper. These newspapers gave strength to the reform movement and gave impetus to the art of the essay. But despite all this, no article could last long due to lack of education and interest. During Harishchandra’s lifetime, 25 magazines came out, in which three newspapers “Bharat Mitra” (bimonthly, 1872), “Sar Sudha Nidhi” (weekly, 1887) and “Uchit Vakta” (weekly, 1880) were published in Kolkata. Its motivator and director was Durga Prasad Mishra.
The history of the weekly “Matwala” published in Kolkata is interesting. The verse printed on its front page explains the spirit and aims of the journal. Amiya Garar Rashi Sikar, Rivkar Ram Viram Bhara Pyala. Pite Hain Jo Sadhak, Unka Pyara Hai Yah Matwala.
Dr. Ram Vilas Sharma wrote of the Bharatnese era that although it had no tradition of diary literature, the progress it made in a short time was the passion of writers. Despite the difficult conditions, he was tenacious. If the writers of that time had not displayed such zeal and arrogance, they would surely have been crushed under the prevailing circumstances. Bharatendu ji’s journalism was non-partisan, fearless, and pro-justice. His journalism has been discussed and praised everywhere not only in the country but also abroad. Without a doubt, he was a prolific journalist.
(The author is a technocrat and an academician. Opinions expressed are the personal opinion of the author. He can be contacted at [email protected])